University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 153/2021 - 28 October 2021
Syrian refugees suffer from the same widespread conditions as the population born here
Researchers at the University of Bayreuth have investigated the medicines Syrian refugees take most often, and have discovered a blind spot among authorities and health policy-makers. While they mainly focus on trauma and infectious diseases among refugees, it is rather the so-called common conditions such as diabetes, headache, and high blood pressure that refugees suffer from most often. The researchers' conclusion is that health policy must pay more attention to the entire range of disease and illness among refugees.
Saleh Aljadeeah, pharmacist and research associate at the Institute for Medical Management & Health Sciences at the University of Bayreuth (IMG), Prof. Dr mult. Eckhard Nagel, IMG Director, and Prof. Dr. Veronika J. Wirtz from the Department of Global Health at the Boston University School of Public Health (USA) described the use of medication and self-reported illnesses or complaints among Syrian asylum seekers and refugees as examples in North Rhine-Westphalia.
"In this study, we examined differences in the use of medication between different age and gender groups of the study participants," reports Saleh Aljadeeah, lead author and head of the study.
Residents in 15 communal shelters in the greater Cologne area, visitors to a community centre with a language school and a counselling centre among other facilities frequented by the Syrian community were approached. A total of 1,641 people were asked about the use of at least one medication in the last seven days, as well as the use of prescribed medication and self-medication.
34.9 per cent of respondents had taken some medication over the past few days. Among Syrian respondents, non-communicable diseases were the most common causes of adult medication use, headache and high blood pressure being the reasons most commonly cited. By dose, diabetes (595 doses) and hypertension (954 doses) were the second most common indications, the same problems that are very common in the population born here. In children, fever and cough were the most frequent indications.
The researchers would now like to see more attention paid to the use of medicines for non-communicable illness, including the so-called common illnesses
Link to publication: https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/9/e053044